IGCSE grades can be extremely important as it can determine the subsequent high school entry, which can be extremely competitive. However, some debate that secondary school IGCSE grades are not so important. QE shares the various issues at hand.

Yes it is true that high schools will have entry requirements usually for IGCSE graduates. Basic subject passes are sometimes not enough. Distinction and high scores may be needed for entry. Usual high school syllabus that IGCSE graduates may progress on towards include A levels, IB (International Baccalaureate) and the American Diploma. These are rigorous syllabus and schools require good predicted grades for entry, to reflect that the student is capable of handling the curriculum and graduating well.

If your secondary and high school are sister schools that are linked in a feeder system, getting great IGCSE scores may not be so important. In these situations, passes are sufficient to progress to the next year. However, your IGCSE grades will determine if you are able to take the SL (Standard Level) or HL (Higher Level) for the IB Diploma or the H1, H2 or H3 for A levels. Taking a higher level is desirable if you wish to pursue a university degree that requires the higher level subjects (for example, Medicine requires HL Chem or H2 Chem).

If you are taking new subjects that were not taught in IGCSE, for example Global politics or Economics, your high school will usually look at your scores for related subjects such as History and Maths respectively to determine your suitability for the new subjects. Hence IGCSE grades may decide if you are able to take a new subject.

Non-traditional alternatives to the IB and A levels include the IB Career Program (IBCP) and the BTEC qualification, which are more employment and hands-on related courses to get a candidate ready for work. UCAS tariffs can be generated and candidates can be considered for universities as well. Hence, this is an alternative route for IGCSE graduates as well. Part time university studies or apprenticeship are possible as well.

Some UK and US universities will ask for the secondary/ junior high grades as well. Hence IGCSE results are important in this aspect, as the top tier universities will want a student with a track record in both high school and secondary school. It is not extremely crucial but important for differentiating IGCSE graduates/candidates in competitive schools. Nonetheless, the final A levels or IB grades will take priority scoring for the calculation of scoring and decision for university placement. Hence tutoring is very important in our final years! Other ways to improve the university placement include good academic references from your character referees or an outstanding CV and portfolio. Hence good academic guidance is important!

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